Is Mathematics All About Memorization? (6 Minute Read) | Iris Reading
Is Mathematics All About Memorization

Is Mathematics All About Memorization? (6 Minute Read)

Is Mathematics All About Memorization

Mathematics requires more practice to be an expert in the field rather than memorization. But many students and some teachers focus more on memorizing mathematics formulas.

It is also true that memorization is the primary means of learning the formulas or algorithms of mathematics. Many memory techniques can help you memorize numbers for chemistry, physics, or any other maths-related problem. 

However, mathematics has more to it than just plain memory. The phrase “practice makes perfect” seems as if coined for it. 

If you are a student who finds mathematics difficult to master, this article is here to help. You will understand the role of memory and comprehension in mathematics and learn a few tricks along the way.

So keep reading!

How Important is Memorization in Mathematics?

A good memory plays a vital role in grasping the concepts of mathematics. It is easy for some people to memorize things quickly, but for other learners, it doesn’t work that way. The people of the second category conclude that they are weak in mathematics and will never achieve good grades in it.

A few skills that help a student master the field of mathematics are:

  • memory, 
  • keen attention in class,
  • information-absorbing speed.

We all have a memory system known as Working Memory that we use for active maintenance and simultaneous data manipulation. We use this working memory system in our daily lives by remembering the grocery list, reading a novel, and calculating the response while talking to someone.

On the other hand, the school environment requires reading, writing, calculating, and memorizing simultaneously. Students make use of the working memory as a mental space and employ it during calculations and manipulation of data.  

Memorization plays an integral part in the mathematical learning process. For example, suppose the most straightforward mathematical task is given to a student, that of comparing numbers. In this case, the student has to recognize the numeric symbols, maintain data in their brain, process the comparison task, and then identify the most significant number from the given data. 

The same memory process is helpful in higher-level mathematical tasks. It is necessary to structure the correct mental representation of the given problem to provide the right answer. Once you have a clear picture in mind using memory skills, it will be easier for you to evaluate correct answers. 

Also, you cannot achieve fluency in mathematics with just memory if you do not integrate the precursors of learning into your study routine. These include:

  • Efficiency
  • Accuracy
  • Flexibility

Efficiency means that a student can practice a mathematical sum without the basic concepts jumbling up in his mind. Memory plays a vital role since you will need to remember the side problems, formulas, and intermediate results to reach the final answer to the problem.

Accuracy is another factor playing an essential role in fluency over maths. Careful problem analysis, knowledge of number combinations, and relationships between digits render more accurate results.

Flexibility urges students to adopt more than one method for solving a mathematical problem. Again, memory plays a critical role in retaining and remembering the suitable alternatives to achieve the correct answers.

Iris Reading has a course that can work on all of the above aspects to boost your memory.

Memorization versus Understanding in Mathematics

There are two schools of thought about memorization in mathematics. One favors knowing formulas by heart, while the other believes in understanding mathematics concepts. Both opinions are discussed below:

Importance of Memory in Mathematics  Importance of Understanding in Mathematics
Memorizing algorithms and formulas are essential for solving complex problems.  You can achieve the basic concept of mathematics through understanding. 
You can adopt practical techniques to retain critical information, which in turn help you to get good grades.  You can solve all problems in mathematics if you achieve the basic concept. It is the beauty in mathematics to prove why things are true. 
Memorization is essential to gaining fluency as well as competency in mathematics.   One should save time by deeply understanding the concepts in mathematics. 
Once you achieve fluency in mathematics, you can store facts in your mind for longer and repeat them later.  You can solve sums quickly if you have a strong grasp of the tricks. 


Both memorization and understanding are essential tools every mathematician uses to study numbers. Memory is a vital part of understanding every subject matter, including mathematics. Memory and understanding are both required at some level and have their own role in mathematics. 

Also, it is worth mentioning that the school of thought that deems memorization as the primary skill for mastering mathematics belongs to school teachers. They are usually more used to school-level maths that has more to do with remembering formulas by heart than being in tune with them due to years of practice.

However, high schoolers or college students who study advanced mathematics deny that memory plays the most crucial part in mathematics. They think practice and a deep understanding of the subject and its concepts are integral to solving mathematical questions. 

The true beauty of the subject lies in the relationships between numbers. It is amazing how you can play with the digits and several mathematical functions to solve a ridiculously difficult sum. And you cannot achieve this problem-solving skill by relying on memory alone.

How to Understand Mathematics rather than Memorize Formulas?

Whenever a student attempts a complex mathematical task, there are high chances of miscalculations, resulting in low performance. Here are some easy ways to understand Mathematics rather than remember formulas:

Familiarize with the concept 

Read the chapter a day before your teacher starts teaching it in the class to grasp the topic’s basic idea. 

You should not memorize all the formulas mentioned in the chapter; just go through the context in 5 to 10 minutes to familiarize yourself. This technique will help you learn formulas quickly and retain them for longer. 

Grab the basic concept behind the formula

Never try to learn all the formulas simultaneously. Spend more time understanding the basic concept behind the formulas, and then it will be easier for you to remind them. 

On the other hand, if you waste all the time memorizing formulas rather than understanding them, you will probably forget them within a short interval of time. Always remember that both formula and its application method are necessary to evaluate the correct answer in the end. 

Practice as much as possible

Practice makes a man perfect. This is so true in the case of mathematics. The more you practice, the easier it will be for you to get the right answer. Practicing and learning more are the only tools to deal with Math formulas. 

Use different techniques

Break the old monotony of learning using paper and pencil and use flashcards. They will help you learn and memorize formulas more quickly. 

Also, watch online videos explaining the concept of formulas with graphics and pictures, which will help you remember the formulas for longer.  

Keep distractions away during learning

Keep your cell phone silent while learning math formulas so that your total concentration stays on your learning. Also, set your room so that nothing hinders your study routine. Make sure there are no loud noises or too many visitors in your study room. 

Follow a routine

Set a routine of studying and follow it strictly. A consistent daily routine is more helpful than you’d think. Proper sleep patterns and eating habits lessen the distractions you have to face if you are tired or hungry.

Iris Reading’s Personal Productivity course will help you follow a routine and thus maximize learning.


To make it more convenient for students to solve complex problems in the class, it is mandatory to initiate intervention programs. The basic objective of these intervention programs is to promote various mathematical learning opportunities in students with limited working memory capacity. 

Iris Reading is the ultimate platform that helps many students to become competent enough to implement the techniques of mathematics and think out of the box.

So what are you waiting for? Enroll in the courses offered by Iris Reading and boost your productivity level. 

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